We are honored and elated to have secured an allocation from one of Champagne’s newest and exciting producers, Ruppert-Leroy—a dedicated husband and wife team from the Aube frontier, whose small production is in high demand. So much so that some of the most prestigious restaurants in Paris do whatever it takes to secure their own allocations.
This story begins at the very southern limits of the Champagne region of Essoyes, a quaint village along the Ource river bank of the Côte des Bar—closer to Côte d’Or, Burgundy than the rest of Champagne. Other than being home to renowned artist Renior, this small village is where vigneron and philosopher Gerard Ruppert and his wife settled as sheep farmers back in 1975.
When the economy shifted, they too followed suit, and decided to take a stab at growing grapes to sell to cooperatifs and some of the larger maisons. Throughout the 1980s, Gerard Ruppert and his wife slowly transformed their small piece of land into the humble beginnings of their oasis—four hectares of vineyards, a garden and a small pasture for the animals.
At a time when most winemakers in the area were not as concerned with the quality of the land and the grapes produced, the philosopher in him made Gerard take a different approach. Leaving chemicals and harsh treatments behind, he spent decades building organic practices in the vineyards. These years of focus on the soil have majestically brought biodiversity and microbial life back to the earth, contributing to the supreme quality of the grapes grown here. In 2009 it was time to retire, and Gerard passed the torch to his daughter, Bénédicte.
In awe of the organic foundations her father built, Bénédicte jumped at the opportunity. She and her husband Manu Leroy took over, and Ruppert-Leroy was born. They stopped selling their grapes, and began the process of creating their own cuvées while continuing to support and embrace the simple ways of nature. Like her father, Bénédicte and Manu also run a small farm complete with sheep, horses, cows, and chickens, and even grow their own grains.
They live in a log cabin on the vineyard, create their own compost and dedicate themselves to organic and biodynamic principles in the vineyards and in the cellar. With the combination of inherited talent, natural methods and passion for the vines they tend, they have become super-farmers and a tour de force of quality Champagne.
You can often find them spreading cow-horn manure, braiding upper vine shoots, debudding, and stirring up an herbal infusion for the vines. During harvest they are out there hand picking grapes, meticulously sorting in the vineyards, and treading softly on their small, compact tractor; careful not to compact the soil. Their attention to detail is simply exquisite.
In short, these are good people, making natural wine that embodies the striking terroir at the edge of Champagne. In honor of their respect to the land, they produce single-vineyard cuvées that highlight each vintage and are finished with no dosage. The significance of this producer can not be overstated and we can’t wait to share them with you!